Thursday, May 09, 2024

  • Thursday, May 09, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

From CNN:
President Joe Biden said for the first time Wednesday he would halt some shipments of American weapons to Israel – which he acknowledged have been used to kill civilians in Gaza – if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders a major invasion of the city of Rafah.

“Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” Biden told CNN’s Erin Burnett in an exclusive interview on “Erin Burnett OutFront,” referring to 2,000-pound bombs that Biden paused shipments of last week.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem,” Biden said.

The president’s announcement that he was prepared to condition American weaponry on Israel’s actions amounts to a turning point in the seven-month conflict between Israel and Hamas. And his acknowledgement that American bombs had been used to kill civilians in Gaza was a stark recognition of the United States’ role in the war. 
He said he had conveyed to Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders that American support for operations in population centers was limited.

“I’ve made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet: They’re not going to get our support, if in fact they go on these population centers,” he said.

Most people commenting on this are concentrating on the political aspect, as it signals a serious rift in US-Israel relations. 

Far more important is that this policy shift, if applied uniformly, would not save lives nearly as much as it further endangers civilians.

The message that Hamas, ISIS and every terror group and autocratic regime like Iran is hearing is that human shields are a legitimate and impregnable defense, one that Western countries cannot counter. As long as terrorists and their enablers place their military assets in the midst of civilian areas, they are untouchable.

This has never been the US position. Nor is it the position of most Western democracies, nor is it the position of international law. Civilians are protected by the principle of distinction between military and civilian objects, and the principle of proportionality to limit damage to civilians and civilian objects as much as possible while attacking valid military objectives. And as we have seen, Israel is more restrictive on calculating proportionality to protect civilians than international law requires

Every civilian death in Gaza is the result of Hamas choosing to hide behind and underneath civilians. If Hamas separated every military object from civilians as international law requires, there would not be a single civilian death in Gaza. The implication that Israel is not being careful enough in protecting civilian life when Hamas is cynically using them as its own Iron Dome is slanderous.

Destroying Hamas is a valid, moral and necessary military objective. But Biden is proposing an alternative that he claims, without any evidence, would accomplish the same goal: assassinating Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

“I said to Bibi, ‘Don’t make the same mistake we made in America. We wanted to get bin Laden. We’ll help you get Sinwar,’” he said, referring to the Hamas leader in Gaza. “It made sense to get bin Laden; it made no sense to try and unify Afghanistan. It made no sense in my view to engage in thinking that in Iraq they had a nuclear weapon.”

Yet even though President Obama prioritized killing Osama bin Laden, he didn't abandon the major aim of destroying Al Qaeda altogether. He said in 2009, “Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.” And even after killing Bin Laden, he said, "We must finish the work of defeating al Qaeda and its associated forces." Killing Bin Laden was important but not sufficient to eliminate the threat against US civilians. 

Why is the US morally obligated to destroy Al Qaeda but Israel has no right to do what is necessary to destroy Hamas? Why is the US pushing Israel to stop the war and allow Hamas to survive, where it can declare victory, rebuild, attract more members and allies and strengthen Iran's "axis of resistance" that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean?

Biden's message is that terrorists have a "get out of jail free" card: Surround themselves with civilians and live to kill another day. 

With the full support of the United States.

This policy runs counter to the United States' own historic policy towards terror groups. It is paternalistic, telling Israelis who are directly threatened by Islamist terror in their own cities  that the US knows what they need to do better than they do. Not only that, but it is not even effective: it endangers the very civilians that Biden is pretending to care about because it encourages other groups like the Houthis and Hezbollah to actively position their missiles and members among and underneath schools and mosques and hospitals even more than they already are.

Encouraging immoral acts in the name of morality is nothing but hypocrisy. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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